Friday, January 27, 2006

Third Week after Epiphany.
"The way that leads to God - practical counsel for those who aspire after true piety" by Abbot A.Saudreau, R&T Washbourne, LTD, London 1911.
On recollection and the union with God, part 3. How the mind should be nourished with the Holy Thoughts.

92. It is impossible, as a matter of fact, to maintain the intelligence in a state of absolute repose; the mind is incessantly at work; thought is as necessary to it as air is to the lungs. According to the Fathers of the desert, as transmitted by Cassian (Conf.,I,18), our minds are the mills, the wheels of which, set in motion by the water of the river, communicate a continuous movement to the millstones. The river's flowing does not depend upon the human will, but lies in the power of the master to decide whether the mill should be employed in the grinding of wheat, barley, or tares. So we are free to offer to our minds either idle thoughts or salutary reflections. Often, it is true, we shall not be the absolute masters; in spite of us, the mill will fill itself with trifles and vanities. These will be the tares which find their way in; but often, also, we shall provide it with materials for its labours, and we shall constrain it to produce for our heart's nourishment pure and strengthening food.

93. Amongst all the holy thoughts that might occupy our minds, which should we prefer? We must consult the supernatural instincts implanted in us by the Holy Spirit, and return faithfully to those truths which He renders ever more and more luminous and attractive to us. Some are taken captive, as it were, by the thought of the salvation of souls. The picture of the Good Shepherd, seeking after His lost sheep, lavishing His devotion upon them, desiring at all costs of snatching them from the evil which threatens them, is ever before their eyes. To these the Divine Master communicates His burning zeal for souls. Others feel themselves constantly drawn towards the Tabernacle; the Most Adorable Sacrament is the centre of all their thoughts, of their care, their love. Some nourish their hearts with meditations upon the Holy Childhood and the Holy Family; they steep themselves in the simplicity and the humility of Nazareth. Others are never at rest away from Calvary; they are penetrated with the patience and the love of the Cross.
But whatever the virtue for which the individual soul feels an attraction, it is important that we should not consider it in itself, after the manner of the philosophers, contenting themselves with examining its foundation and weighing its advantages. We should be in great danger of not considering it long under its supernatural aspects, and of passing involuntarily from the thought of this virtue to some worldly consideration. The heart which is made for God must have God Himself. We must look at each virtue of Jesus, the model of all virtues, rising from the consideration of His Sacred Humanity to the thought of His Divinity. Jesus is the Way that leads to the Father. He calls the faithful soul, bidding it plunge into that infinite ocean of beauty and love in which it is to take delight, and from which it will never again entirely emerge, even when it applies itself to its ordinary and profane duties. For so it is that, whatever the road by which it has come to God, when once a soul has found Him and tasted of His sweetness, it can never again depart from Him; for it finds in Him its light and its strength, its joy and its all. Such is the life of faith in its full perfection, and thus the just soul live by faith - justus ex fide vivit.